Convenience Store Woman (Sayaka Murata)

(2018 translation from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori) Keiko Furukura isn’t a convenience store worker, she is part of a convenience store. “I was wasting time talking like this.  I had to get myself back in shape for the sake of the store.  I had to restructure my body so it would be able to move more swiftly and precisely to replenish the refrigerated drinks or clean the floor, to more perfectly comply with the store’s demands”.  Keiko is content living as a cell in a convenience store, but her family and her (very few) friends are not content. “‘Keiko,…

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Crossroads (Jonathan Franzen)

The first volume of Jonathan Franzen’s saga of contemporary American family life, “Crossroads” (2021) promises less to come. The Hildebrandts of New Prospect are falling apart and they don’t know it.  Worse still, they are unremittingly dull, and the author doesn’t know it.  The hypocritical, craven pastor father, Russ, lusts after a parishioner. He despises his peculiar and repressed wife, Marion.  He loathes a popular youth worker at the church ‘Crossroads’ group.  He acts inappropriately with teenaged girls.  That’s about all he does. The Hildebrandt parents barely register their children – the all-American elder son, the thinly-realised daughter, the drug-addled…

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Spencer (dir. Pablo Larrain 2021)

February 24, 2022 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Pablo Larrain’s fiction about an imagined few days in the life of Diana, Princes of Wales at Sandringham Castle, Christmas 1991 will make you feel really sorry for that woman. Not Diana. Heavens no! But Kristen Stewart.  The poor thing does very well in portraying Diana despite a poor Sloane Ranger accent and a script as leaden as the lining of a butler’s sink. Stewart gives Spencer’s Diana just as much weight as she merits – none.  Spencer’s Diana is a whiney, entitled, disrespectful, self-centred fool. She’s world-weary and heartily sick and tired of the demands that those nasty Windsors…

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Inventing Anna (Episodes 5 – 9) (Netflix 2022)

February 22, 2022 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

Subtle: Anna Chlumsky.

(See our review of Episodes 1-4 here). We have watched the rest of the series, so that you don’t have to.  In particular, we exhort you to never ever expose yourself to episode 9, which is without doubt the worst courtroom episode of a tv series ever made and possibly the worst episode of any tv series ever made. Before we get to that rubbish bit of drama though, our favourite Russian conwoman Anna Sorokin/Delvey (Julia Garner) and her hapless hangers-on go to Morocco. Anna’s treat. They stay at the sort of resort that the Kardashians frequent. Morocco is beautiful…

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Inventing Anna (Episodes 1 – 4) (Netflix, 2022)

February 16, 2022 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

We have seen the first four parts of the new nine-part series from creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes which fictionalises the true story of Anna Sorokin, a Russian-born fraudster who scammed New York high society. (See our review of Episodes 5 – 9 here). There is a nice touch in which, at the beginning of each episode, the rubric, “This whole story is completely true, except for all the parts that are totally made up” appears in a different guise every time – on a photographer’s drop sheet, on a bronze plaque. Julia Garner plays Sorokin (usually known as…

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